Logos Redesigned: Keeping it Simple or Stupid?

Contributed by CS-Graphic Design Inc.

The K.I.S.S. principle has been around since before any of us went to design school, and it’s one that most designers frequently adhere to.

The logo re-designs of late also seem to be a throwback to this principle. Over the course of this year we’ve noticed a trend towards extremely simple, sans serif logos. The following logo re-designs are case in point.


In March of this year, the ROM one of Toronto’s most famous landmarks and tourist destinations introduced a completely new logo accompanied by a refreshed visual identity package.

The new logo uses a much thicker, heavier font for the ROM wordmark. Where the former logo used solid colour blocks to reflect the ROM’s intriguing structure, the new logo uses the letter “O” as a lens into the ROM. This means that different images and graphics can be placed behind the “O” to show the diversity of the venue.

Although the new logo (and identity) was intended to attract and revive interest in the ROM, it has received much criticism from the design community for being clunky, poorly designed, uninspiring and dated. In this case, we tend to agree.


This summer Mountain Equipment Co-op rebranded as MEC.? According to the company’s chief marketing officer, this change responds to the necessity for MEC to remain relevant to a broader range of consumers. The removal of the mountain symbol and name gives MEC a more generic form that encompasses a range of outdoor activities, not limited to mountaineering.

The simplified name and form, in an attractive font, colour and basic shape, make the new MEC logo easily recognizable. More importantly, MEC is memorable, which is essential in creating an effective, long-lasting logo.


Ernst & Young also shortened their company name this summer, rebranding as “EY”? Seemingly, this name change was what most clients and internal staff commonly referred to the company as. An abstract yellow symbol or beam, previously used for branding, was added to the new logo above the EY wordmark.

In combination with the wordmark, the yellow symbol offers variety and adds visual interest to different applications. Having been used with their previous logo, this symbol is familiar to clients and staff. As a result, the new EY logo is more of an evolution than an overhaul. In our opinion, it works well.

TGI Fridays

Across the border, T.G.I. Friday’s also rolled out a new logo recently a paired down version of its predecessor. In place of the two-line wordmark within the ornate striped and beveled frame, the new logo rests on one line in a basic striped, rectangular frame. The name has also been stripped of its punctuation, becoming TGI Fridays?

The refresh of this logo is well done, for several reasons. Though not drastic, the removal of punctuation makes the logo more legible and more versatile. The more obvious change in shape gives the logo a modern feel, while retaining the restaurant’s familiar red stripes.


Just last week Yahoo! introduced their new logo, following their 30 Days of Change Campaign. Over the course of 30 days Yahoo! previewed 29 different logos before their big reveal on day 30. The new logo keeps the different sized Os, the exclamation point and the colour purple, but loses the serif font, using instead a sans-serif with a bevel effect.

Although Yahoo’s logo campaign stimulated some discussion and gained media coverage, the attention has not been altogether positive. In fact, by showing so many variations of their logo, Yahoo’s new logo has been more closely scrutinized. Admittedly, we preferred the logos shown on Day One and Day Ten over the new logo, for their clean lines and very modern feel.
(See all of the logos of the campaign)

Logo re-designs are definitely tricky, especially for well-known companies. The K.I.S.S. principle is an excellent guide, but it’s not always easily achieved.

For more on logo design trends in 2013, check out this article at logolounge.com